Christopher Hitchens: "Foolish Myths About al Qaeda In Mesopotamia"
The founder of al-Qaida in Mesopotamia was Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who we can now gratefully describe as "the late." The first thing to notice about him is that he was in Iraq before we were. The second thing to notice is that he fled to Iraq only because he, and many others like him, had been driven out of Afghanistan. Thus, by the logic of those who say that Afghanistan is the "real" war, he would have been better left as he was. Without the overthrow of the Taliban, he and his collaborators would not have moved to take advantage of the next failed/rogue state. I hope you can spot the simple error of reasoning that is involved in this belief. It also involves the defeatist suggestion—which was very salient in the opposition to the intervention in Afghanistan—that it's pointless to try to crush such people because "others will spring up in their place." Those who take this view should have the courage to stand by it and not invent a straw-man argument.
It was only a matter off time
To say that the attempt to Talibanize Iraq would not be happening at all if coalition forces were not present is to make two unsafe assumptions and one possibly suicidal one. The first assumption is that the vultures would never have gathered to feast on the decaying cadaver of the Saddamist state, a state that was in a process of implosion well before 2003. All our experience of countries like Somalia and Sudan, and indeed of Afghanistan, argues that such an assumption is idiotic. It is in the absence of international attention that such fight them, the more such cancers metastasize. This appears to be contradicted by all the experience of Iraq. Fallujah or Baqubah might already have become the centers of an ultra-Taliban ministate, as they at one time threatened to do, whereas now not only have thousands of AQM goons been killed but local opinion appears to have shifted decisively against them and their methods.
Hitchens' last point about the thousands of "AQM goons" having been killed or overruled by tribal leaders is clear when noting recent reports that Major Attacks Evaporating In Iraq, as Pat Dollard noted.
Which means now is not the time to withdraw, as Democrats are calling to do, rather we should press on and finish the job.
If we are to take Obama's uninformed, inaccurate, ignorant narrative:
"We've to get the job done there and that requires us to have enough troops so that we're not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous pressure over there.''
...then surely we will lose by the sheer lack of a coherent strategy Obama cannot even articulate. Worse than being soft on terrorism (as some critics suggest, terrorism is a law enforcement problem... huh?), Obama falsely smears our military while writers in Europe praise the progress by our troops.
A sad, strange day in American when a U.S. Presidential candidate is less supportive and much more highly critical of U.S. policy than a German newspaper: "The US military is more successful in Iraq than the world wants to believe."
Does this sound like American troops simply "air-raiding villages and killing civilians?":
The "Battle of Donkey Island," named after the wild donkeys native to the region, lasted 23 hours. The Americans forced the enemy to engage in trench warfare in the rough brush, eventually trapping them in the vast riverside landscape. It wasn't until later, after the soldiers lost two of their own and killed 35 terrorists, that they realized the scope of the disaster they had foiled.
Three of the captured attackers, who claimed to be members of al-Qaida in Iraq, revealed their plan to plunge Ramadi into chaos once again by staging multiple attacks in broad daylight. By unleashing a devastating series of suicide attacks on the city, they hoped to destroy the delicate peace in Ramadi and bring the war back to its markets, squares, streets and residential neighborhoods.
I think not. Although it's funny to see the other Democratic candidates scramble to now get on the "right side" of this issue, as Jules Crittenden writes.
(H/T, Hot Air)